Russelle Patterson's life was turned upside down two years ago.
The New Jersey woman's home in Egg Harbor Township was severely damaged when Superstorm Sandy struck the northeast U.S. on Oct. 29, 2012. In the aftermath, without permanent housing, Patterson was separated from her pets and forced to live in a motel. Her home -- scarred with irreparable water damage -- was eventually torn down this past summer, the Press of Atlantic City reported.
But thanks to the generosity of one Longport, New Jersey, man, Patterson is going from homeless to homeowner.
Through the Atlantic County Habitat for Humanity, which has been committed to long-term rebuilding efforts post-Sandy, an anonymous donor has given his three-bedroom, three-bathroom ranch to Patterson. According to the Press of Atlantic City, the donor is building another home for himself, but didn't want to destroy the one he'd been living in.
Patterson's new home was transplanted by movers to a property in Atlantic City on Oct. 18, according to NBC40 News. Patterson -- who said she'd "floundered" since the storm changed her life two years ago -- is expected to move in this December.
Superstorm Sandy was among the worst natural disasters in American history, killing at least 117 people, according to records collected by the Red Cross, and causing roughly $50 billion in damage -- making it the second-costliest natural disaster to strike the U.S. (behind Hurricane Katrina).
While many victims of the storm continue to rebuild their lives, like Patterson, states in the northeastern U.S. have taken steps to prevent future natural disasters from having such devastating effects on the region, the Associated Press reported. Sea walls protecting New Jersey towns have been built and floodgates now protect a power plant that caused massive power outages in Manhattan, among other preventative measures, but many projects are years from completion.
Still, improvements made have been significant, according to Rockefeller Foundation president and resilience expert Judith Rodin.
"The region is better prepared for a storm like Sandy," she told the Associated Press. "I could never say that everyone is or should be satisfied with the rate of progress, but things are progressing."
Storm walls and floodgates aside, Patterson said she's just happy to be able to boil a pot of water and use a kitchen again.
"This is such a blessing," she told the Press of Atlantic City. "It’s almost overwhelming."
If you'd like to help provide relief for Superstorm Sandy victims, visit the Atlantic County Habitat for Humanity website.